Friday, June 24, 2011

Draft Day 2011

Blue prints at the ready, the thirty General Mangers of the NHL's member teams are set to put forward their plan for the 2011-12 season, the first step of which will be the start of the two day amateur draft process, round number one set for tonight.

For some the draft is to lay the foundation for a brand new start, for others it's but the cause of making sure that the talent coming up is at the same level of ability as that which is currently in place.

And while a good amount of research and review takes place prior to the draft, outside of the first few picks who usually are guaranteed a long and prosperous NHL career, the bulk of the draft plays out in the rounds beyond one and two, a name perhaps unknown today, one day destined to be the key component of a Stanley Cup run.

Below we'll provide some links to make your Draft weekend viewing easier to follow, from draft pick reviews to links to live content and commentary.

The draft is the second to last event of the hockey season, (the final being the Free agency declaration day of July 1st), it provides a look at some of the long term thinking of the NHL's teams, combined with decisions that could turn middle of the pack teams into contenders with a trade or two along the way.

TSN Draft centre tracker
Rogers Sportsnet Draft tracker
Globe and Mail draft tracker
Toronto Star Draft blog
Toronto Sun Live Draft blog

National Post Mock Draft 2011
Rogers Sportsnet Mock Draft 2011
TSN Mock Draft 2011 Mock Drafts 2011

NHL Entry Draft page
TSN Draft centre
Rogers Sports Net Draft page
CBC Sports Draft page

Items of Interest:

Globe and Mail-- Oilers, Sens have a lot riding on draft
Globe and Mail-- Panthers angling to move up to No. 1
Globe and Mail-- Small (with talent) is the new big at NHL draft
National Post-- The future starts now
Toronto Star-- Leafs get Liles from Colorado for 2012 second round pick
Toronto Star-- Draft schmaft: Study says NHL teams should flip a coin instead
Toronto Star-- Ex-Thrashers GM Dudley joins Leafs front office
Toronto Sun-- Leafs acquire John-Michael Liles from Avs
Toronto Sun-- Stanley Cup better than No. 1
Toronto Sun-- Diamonds in draft rough
Toronto Sun-- Five guys Leafs covet
Toronto Sun-- Leafs No. 1 pick least a year away
Ottawa Sun-- A look back at Sens' drafts
Ottawa Sun-- Ridiculous Sens trade offers!
Ottawa Sun-- Sens turn to OHL to fill coaching roster
Ottawa Sun-- Senators eye Super Six
Winnipeg Sun-- Team to be called Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Sun-- Winnipeg looking for high character in draft
Winnipeg Sun-- Noel named Winnipeg's head coach
Winnipeg Sun-- True North rolls dice
Winnipeg Sun-- Waiting to be drafted 'torture'

A little cleaning, a little renovating in Philly

The Flyers stole the pre NHL draft thunder on Thursday, as Paul Holmgren took on the title of Grand Trademaster P, sending players west coast and Midwest and bringing in what he hopes will be the final answer to the never ending woes on the Flyers goal line.

In moves that seemingly will change a good portion of the leadership group of the boys from Philly, Holmgren sent captain Mike Richards off to California, taking Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds from the Kings.

Holmgren also gained some potential for 2012 with a second round draft pick as part of that deal.

But the trader wasn't finished yet.  Jeff Carter was next on the movements list, sent to Columbus in exchange for a second round draft pick in today's NHL draft,  as well as prospect Jakub Voracek and a third round pick.

Much has been made of the change in chemistry that was created with one or two fell calls on the long distance bill, moves that have left some surprised if not shocked, while others herald it as a necessary change for a team that has underperformed when it was required most,  in the playoffs in the last two seasons.

No doubt a fair bit will be made about rumblings that the captain Richards had too many issues with Flyers rear guard Chris Pronger, a situation that seems to have been resolved in Pronger's favour with the decisions of Thursday.

More than a few are suggesting that Pronger will be the one to sew on the C when training camp begins later this summer.

To cap a rather busy day,  Holmgren brought into Philadelphia yet another last line of defence in the nets, with the release that he had acquired the rights to Ilya Bryzgalov  signing him to a nine year deal to wear Orange and Black for 2011-12 and beyond.

Bryzgalov, becomes the latest of top class goaltenders that will be expected to carry a heavy load and avoid the now quite dramatic collapses in the net that the last few years have brought.

Philly has kind of become a goaltenders graveyard over the last few years, where players arrive with great anticipation only to leave shell shocked and vilified by the faithful of Broad Street.

Where Brygalov will fit into the legendary ranks remains to be seen, but he may have a better chance of success if Holmgren's moves of Thursday and what may come over the summer translate into a successful offence and steady defence, otherwise, we would imagine that even Georges Vezina himself wouldn't have much success in Flyers colours.

The reviews of Thursday's dramatic personnel changes can be found below.

Philadelphia Inquirer-- Flyer trades of Carter and Richards evoke mixed emotions...
Philadelphia Inquirer-- On draft day, Flyers steal Sixers' thunder
Philadelphia Daily News-- In Flyers' moves, gotta admire Holmgren's guts
Philadelphia Daily News-- Pronger won't nominate himself for "C"
Globe and Mail-- Flyers deal Richards to Kings
Globe and Mail-- Paul Holmgren shakes up Flyers
National Post-- Flyers set to move ahead after dealing two stars
Toronto Sun-- Flyers roll dice by trading Richards, Carter
Toronto Sun-- Flyers ship Carter to Blue Jackets
Toronto Star-- Flyers trade Richards, Carter to make room for Bryzgalov
Toronto Star-- Philly blockbusters: Flyer ship Jeff Carter to Columbus, Mike Richards to L. A.

Photo above from website

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas! And the winners are....

The NHL handed out its awards on Wednesday night, recognition to those that have performed far beyond the normal levels of NHL play for the 2010-11 season.

Held in Las Vegas once again, the NHL saluted it's best amid the noise and celebrity (not to mention the gambling) of the famed Vegas strip.

The NHL celebrated its awards with this entry to their website

As things turn out what happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay in Vegas, below the winners of this years celebration of excellence.

Vezina Trophy (Outstanding Goaltender ) -- Tim Thomas
Hart Trophy (Most Valuable Player) -- Corey Perry
Ted Lindsay Award (Outstanding Player) -- Daniel Sedin
Norris Trophy (Best Defenseman)-- Nicklas Lidstrom
Calder Trophy (Best Rookie) -- Jeff Skinner
Selke Trophy (Best Defensive Forward) -- Ryan Kesler
Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year) -- Dan Bylsma
Lady Byng Trophy (Sportsmanship Award) -- Martin St. Louis
Bill Masterton Trophy (Perseverance) -- Ian Laperriere
Bridgestone Messier Award (Leadership) -- Zdeno Chara
NHL Foundation Award (Community) -- Dustin Brown
Maurice Richard Trophy (Top Goal Scorer) -- Corey Perry
Art Ross Trophy (Top Points Scorer) -- Daniel Sedin
Jenning Trophy (Goals Against) -- Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider
King Clancy Trophy (Leadership/Humanitarian) -- Doug Weight
General Manager of the Year -- Mike Gillis

Items of note from this years Awards show.

Globe and Mail-- Tim Thomas beats Luongo again
Globe and Mail-- Daniel Sedin is players' MVP
Globe and Mail-- Nick Lidstrom wins for seventh time
Globe and Mail-- Jeff Skinner is top rookie
Globe and Mail-- Ryan Kesler NHL's top defensive forward
Globe and Mail-- Corey Perry wins Hart Trophy
National Post-- Perry beats out Sedin, St. Louis for Hart
Toronto Star-- Canucks' Daniel Sedin, Ryan Kesler among winners at NHL awards
Toronto Star-- Canes rookie Skinner discovers you can't hit on 19 in Vegas
Toronto Sun-- Strong finish earns Perry Hart
Toronto Sun-- Canucks collect consolation prizes 
Toronto Sun-- Lidstrom chalks up seventh Norris
Toronto Sun-- Thomas completes NHL trifecta
Vancouver Province-- 2011 NHL Awards tn cup for Canucks
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks' Daniel Sedin wins Ted Lindsay award...
Vancouver Sun-- Bruins' Thomas wins Vezina Trophy
Vancouver Sun-- Lidstrom Captures Norris Trophy
Vancouver Sun-- Canes' Skinner wins rookie of the year honours
Vancouver Sun-- Bylsma wins NHL coach of the year honours
Vancouver Sun-- NHL players live the high life in "Sin City" Vegas -- Perry named NHL MVP over Sedin, St. Louis Canucks' trio wins big: NHL awards roundup Wings' Lidstrom wins Norris Trophy for 7th time Less-than-perfect Thomas wins 2nd Vezina

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In Hamilton, the Sugar Daddy has a few financial distractions

While we imagine this is but a temporary setback towards the goal of global communication domination, Jim Balsillie's Research in Motion group, has had pretty bad week or so on the stock markets.

It's a financial twist that is probably of interest to those in Hamilton, where they watched with interest the return of Winnipeg to the NHL and perhaps are still hopeful that one day, the NHL will see fit to allow them to enter the club.

Balsillie of course, was the driving force behind the plan to bring an NHL team to Hamilton, only to have the NHL more or less declare him personna non grata, after he made numerous attempts to purchase NHL teams, from Pittsburgh to Nashville to Phoenix,  the latter two perhaps with an eye to a northern migration.

And while there was some talk earlier this month  that the NHL was perhaps ready to forgive, forget and accept Balisille into the fold, follow up commentaries suggested that the past battles between the Blackberry Baron and the NHL,  perhaps left some of the wounds did still a little sore.

Add on the developing financial news regarding the parent company of RIM Technologies, and maybe that phone won't be ringing any time soon after all.

Financial Post-- RIM tries to shake off latest doubts
Financial Post-- RIM: Where from here?
Financial Post-- RIM ripe for takeover with cheapest multiple
Globe and Mail-- RIM braces for 'the big reset'
Globe and Mail-- RIM cuts 200 jobs in Waterloo, reports say
Globe and Mail-- As stock plunges, could RIM be sold in whole or part?
Bloomberg-- Dolby Sues Research in Motion for Patent Infringement

For hockey fans in Hamilton, their future hopes will require a keen eye not only on which NHL franchises are in trouble and perhaps in play, but if the timing of it all works out with what's happening on the financial pages.

Mr. Balsillie may very well still be keen on owning a hockey club, but without the core business in a strong position, it would seem that the Copps Coliseum won't be needing an upgrade in the immediate future.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hockey enters the Animation Hall of Shame

What in the name of Peter Puck?

Really, we're at a loss for words here, move over Tiger Woods, you have some company!

Everyone loves a parade...

Boston celebrates its Stanley Cup Championship, an estimated 1 million fans lining the streets of the city to salute the Bruins and share in the joy of their Game 7 victory of Wednesday night.

Travelling through the city in the Duck Boats made famous by the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics, the Bruins climbed aboard at 11 am Boston time for the journey, joining the city's other pro franchises in a Championship drive, part of what has become a Boston tradition, known as the Rolling Rally.

It's the first time that the Bruins have been able to celebrate a championship with their fans in 39 years and judging by the size of the crowd and the enthusiasm for their Bruins it's been a long anticipated day that has finally arrived.

The parade was anticipated to last until at least 1 pm, passing by crowds that at some points were said to be lined up to 60 rows deep, many have lined up in the early hour morning hours to secure their best vantage point.

Live feeds of the parade can be found from any number of Boston sources, CBS Boston, FOX Boston, ABC and NBC, for those that missed the live webcasts of the parade, we imagine that the highlights will be archived for Bruins fans to relive their day of happiness.

We'll post some of the after parade comments from Boston, but for now, we're going to watch a parade!

Somebody has some sore feet tonight we bet!

Well that was indeed a pretty amazing scene, the Bruins in their Duck boats had a look of awe as they looked out at the crowds of people that lined the streets along the parade route.

It was a very well organized and well received celebration of the Bruins success and the organizers should be commended for their efforts.

One thing we didn't find particularly enjoyable however was some of the running commentary of the Boston TV stations. As we picked up the flow from the various live feeds available, a rather smug, condescending bit of Vancouver bashing took place, offering up the theme that Boston seemingly knows how to behave in public, where Vancouver didn't.

It was an unwanted intrusion into what was for the most part a pretty feel good kind of day and while we don't want to rain on the Bruins parade, we can't help but remember that Boston has had it's own share of idiots that have tarnished that cities reputation in the past, exhibit A, exhibit B and exhibit C.

Memories it seem are rather short at some of Boston's largest media operations.

We won't dwell on it, but a bit of balance to the reporting might go a long way, something that seemingly isn't among some of the key course outlines in journalism school these days.

As we pointed out earlier this week on the blog, the us against them phony war that apparently was hoisted upon us by some members of the media in both cities, is something we could have done without.

Even in victory it seems, some folks can't let it go and wanted to get in one last, unfair shot.

It's too bad, as it diminished a bit, what seemed like a remarkable day.  The parade was great, the people of Boston did show that large crowds can gather in a peaceful manner and celebrate a sport, good on them for that today, it was a refreshing thing to see and a welcome one.

From the looks on the faces of the kids that lined that parade route today, there probably will be a good number of future hockey stars coming our way from New England in the future.  As they waved and hollered to their favourite Bruins up high, they no doubt had dreams of climbing aboard a Duck Boat in their own parade as well.

And that is the kind of passion that hockey should be all about.

The reviews have begun to come in, you can check it all out below.

Boston Globe-- Black and gold all over
Boston Globe-- Loyal fans dress the part for celebration
Boston Globe-- For young, championships aren't rare
Boston Globe-- Kids tell who their favourite players are
Boston Globe-- Businesses get boost all along rally route
Boston Globe-- Blowing their horns
Boston Globe-- Revelers get early start at Hub's pubs
Boston Globe-- Orr's legend relished, remembered with fond memories of another era
Boston Globe-- Fans feel stranded by rail lines
Boston Globe-- Moments of reflection
Boston Globe-- With the Cup in hand, a few thoughts spill out
Boston Globe-- Savard along for this ride
Boston Globe-- These Bruins will be frozen in time forever
Boston Globe-- Heaven on ice
Boston Globe-- The true measure of devotion
Boston Herald-- Celebration 'icing on the cake' for Bruins fans
Boston Herald-- Victory a dream come true for disable player
Boston Herald-- Shawn Thornton etches name in lore
Boston Herald-- Bruins Rally a million-hit parade
Boston Herald-- March of inspiration
Boston Herald-- Fans show signs of devotion
Boston Herald-- Second chance rewards Ference
Boston Herald-- After the wait, yes, it's worth it
Boston Herald-- Bruin's victory makes grade with Hub's best
Boston Herald-- Mark Recchi still exits on top
Boston Herald-- Chris Kelly savors being on winning side
Boston Herald-- A rough ride for Marc Savard
Boston Herald-- Another Banner Year

Friday, June 17, 2011

Madness Night in Canada

Even before the final seconds had ticked off the clock and extinguished the Vancouver Canucks dreams of a Stanley Cup, things had begun to unravel rather badly on the streets of one of Canada's most recognizable cities.

Vancouver, the jewel of the nation one year ago, awash in the joy and celebration of a remarkable Winter Olympiad, instead was unrecognizable to the world, a home of shattered glass, burning cars and angry louts , some drunken, some stoned, some both. A collective which defied all that was civil in their quest for their own personal bit of fame and dishonour.

We rarely dwell on the social issues on our hockey blog, we prefer to keep its entries in the sphere of the game and issues associated with it, our little island from the world.

But sometimes events dictate that the game take a second place, that's a sad commentary on the end of a fascinating Stanley Cup playoff year, the drama of two months of intense competition left aside for the moment as we digest the horrid, senseless scenes of destruction and violence on Canada's third largest metropolis, the western gateway to a nation that thankfully welcomes all and simply asks that those that have chosen Canada abide by our rules and regulations.

From the visuals of a horrific Wednesday night we can only say  it's too bad it seems that those of us that have been here for a while now and have benefitted from all that Canada provides, don't follow our own advice.

Much was said on Thursday of the nature of that crowd that ran amok for more than three hours following a hockey game, initially described as a hockey riot, we offer up the thought that this was a riot that used a hockey game as a cover.

In past years,  we would be found watching the post game interviews,  enjoying the celebrations of the players from the ice and commiserating with the vanquished squad that saw the dream of any Canadian kid that ever put on blades dashed with that final horn.

And yet, with the obvious indication that something was going very, very wrong on the streets of a city I've enjoyed so many times over the years, I instead sat transfixed to my television, switching channels through the hours, mortified that we can be reduced to a pack of mad dogs seeking to offer nothing but anger and hatred, a collective with nothing to offer than destruction, violence and theft.

This was once again a familiar scene, reminiscent of the mobs we've seen in the past,  whether in 94 on Vancouver's Robson street, rampaging at the start of the Olympics in downtown Vancouver last year, or through the streets of Toronto in 2010 laying waste as they travelled through the nations largest city. There may be new faces that join in, but there are just as many of the usual suspects, the dark underbelly of our society and a concern that needs to be addressed on a national basis.

Many things jumped into our thoughts during those hours of disgust Wednesday night, such as why so many chose to stay and watch rather than leave and allow the police to do what was so desperately needed to bring such havoc under control.

Those that turned the streets into a carnival of destruction by cheering on the slugs on the streets, are just as culpable as those that burned cars, broke windows and assaulted people seemingly at random. By being there and egging them on, they became part of the problem they as the audience provided the fuel to a fire that spread in far too many directions.

On a night full of losers and their enablers, there were heroes of the night as well,  those who daily serve us in cities across this country and around the world.

First and foremost, the police that bore the brunt of a mob that raged at authority as though they were entitled to lay waste to their city by right, the "riot plan" as it was frequently referred to by the Mayor and police spokespersons, seemed to be more of an impediment for the front line responders of the Vancouver Police and those called in from the outlying areas.

The line that is frequently refered to as the thin blue line, and indeed it seemed awfully thin on Wednesday, facing off against a raging mob with no discernible ambition other than to destroy. Vancouver's residents can be proud of their cops on the streets, they tried valiantly to keep a lid on things as best they could, seemingly dreadfully short of the kind of resources required for such an out of control mob.

At points Wednesday night the Mayor and other municipal representatives claimed that things were progressing according to their plan, if so, it would appear that it's time to knuckle down and develop something else.

For what seemed like an hour, if not more, it was as though the mob was ruling the city.

We have nothing but empathy for the Fire fighters, unable to do what they bravely do at every call, respond to dangerous fires and provide rescue services as the mob blocked access, at times actively engaging the fire fighters with bottles, cans and other items of what was very much an urban war zone.

Ambulance attendants and paramedics, normally available with but a call, could only stand by frustrated as calls for assistance were stymied by a collection of miscreants who had no care of the injured or the endangered, but only of their own evil.

And even ordinary citizens, who stood at great peril to their own lives in the face of a mob, pleading for civility, a call ignored with disdain and churlishness at its most extreme.

There will be the requisite investigation into what went wrong and while the Mayor and Premier put on their stern faces on Thursday and vowed that the festival scenes that made up the Vancouver landscape over the last two months would still go on in the future..

However, after Wednesday night you have to think that in the end, public safety will dictate that the Live Zone experiments are gone for the foreseeable future, if not longer.

A sad commentary that the greater good of the community can be held hostage by a band of scum, cowards one and all.

The Vancouver Canucks lost a hockey game and a championship on Wednesday night, that happens in sports but life goes on.  But on a night when a game should have been celebrated for the national passion that hockey is, it instead became but an afterthought.

More importantly beyond a game, a city lost a bit of its soul, it's bounce, it's reason for being on Wednesday.

It too will come back... eventually.

Vancouver still has much to offer to its visitors and residents alike, but the feel good spirit of community that was spawned from the Olympics is gone, left in rubble on the streets of Vancouver.

Those responsible and those that joined in on the madness of Wednesday night may yet be brought to justice, though one wonders if  even in this era of social media, camera phones and YouTube videos if that is even possible, we  hope so but the task we fear is going to be an onerous one for the authorities.

If  the net results of the aftermath of 1994 are any guideline, few if any will ever suffer any real consequences from their actions.

The massive defiance of common sense, civility and rule of law was created by creatures I don't recognize and refuse to acknowledge as even human, I'm thankful that there are still more of us that understand that there is much to be lost to the tyranny of those that only want to spawn anarchy.

The Vancouver Police, RCMP and other forces from the Vancouver area took back the streets on our behalf on Wednesday night, as a society we need to make sure that the message gets out, that those streets remain ours and not the domain of the likes of those we saw Wednesday who may think otherwise.

Below we've collected a number of items of note from the explosion of ugliness on the streets of Vancouver, sadly, there's much more of them to archive than there are of the game we should have been talking about today.

Vancouver Province-- Riot brought under control but looting, damage across Vancouver's downtown ...
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver chaos captures the world's attention
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver a city tarnished in wake of riots
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver, you need to grow up
Vancouver Province-- We haven't progressed since '94
Vancouver Province-- Real time coverage of the riot in downtown Vancouver
Vancouver Province-- Want to send photos/videos to cops to help I. D. people...
Vancouver Province-- Post-riot insurance claims trickle in
Vancouver Province-- Transit stopped as rioters bring downtown to a halt
Vancouver Province-- Read Gregor Robertson's statement on the Stanley Cup '11 riot here
Vancouver Province-- Clean up begins in riot struck Vancouver
Vancouver Province-- Citizens using social media to round up the rioters
Vancouver Province-- Overwhelmed police showed 'admirable self-restraint'
Vancouver Province-- Using online posts to track down rioters 'a slippery slope': Expert
Vancouver Province-- Surrey, Delta police sent to Vancouver after drunken rioters trash downtown

Vancouver Province-- We can't be trusted to celebrate
Vancouver Province-- Chaos erupts after Canucks loss
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver top cop blames Stanley Cup riot on 'anarchists'
Vancouver Province-- Downtown Vancouver rocked by Stanley Cup post-game riot
Vancouver Province-- Emotion, booze, create 'perfect storm' for hockey riots
Vancouver Province-- 2011 Stanley Cup riot "worse" than 1994
Vancouver Province-- Mayor, premier say the city won't be cowed by 'losers' who ...
Vancouver Province-- World bemused by Vancouver's 'ice hockey' riot
Vancouver Province-- Most of 100 alleged rioters released as B. C. prepares for their day in court
Vancouver Province-- Clark's call for justice in Vancouver riot aftermath must be backed by action
Vancouver Province-- Business continues in wake of lotting during riot
Vancouver Province-- Searching for Good Samaritans involved in stopping riot, cleanup
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver police riot containment strategy worked: Chief
Vancouver Province-- Vancouver unites to clean up shattered city
Vancouver Province-- Plywood canvas keeps Vancouver united
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver mayor and police chief blame Stanley Cup riot on anarchists
Vancouver Sun-- Shocking Vancouver riot footage - Cars burning and people cheering
Vancouver Sun-- Video footage of Canucks riot in downtown Vancouver
Vancouver Sun-- Bus service grinds to a halt, transit system in chaos, as riots rage
Vancouver Sun-- Angry Canucks fans erupt in violence on Vancouver's streets
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robinson 'extremely' disappointed about riots
Vancouver Sun-- Psychology of a riot: They found it exciting
Vancouver Sun-- TransLink to review its post-game riot operations
Vancouver Sun-- World coverage of Vancouver riot tarnishes city's reputation
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver businesses begin to tally the damage from vandalism and looting
Vancouver Sun-- Canuck hockey dream is now Vancouver's nightmare
Vancouver Sun-- Canucks' marvellous season turns to dust... then shame on us 
Vancouver Sun-- Vancouver wakes up to smashed storefronts, debris from Stanley Cup riot
Vancouver Sun-- Premier Clark says those responsible for Vancouver riots will be hunted down
Globe and Mail -- What went wrong in Vancouver?
Globe and Mail-- B. C. Premier promises to expose rioters to public gaze
Globe and Mail-- Busting myths of Vancouver's destructive Stanley Cup riot
Globe and Mail-- Vancouver cleanup aided by ordinary people after Facebook callout
Globe and Mail-- Win, lose or draw, a riot was all but certain
Globe and Mail-- When hosers and hooligans go on the loose
Globe and Mail-- Riot sparks busiest night in 20 years at Vancouver hospital
Globe and Mail-- Facing down Vancouver's rioters: This is my neighbourhood
Globe and Mail-- 'Thugs and thieves and lunatics': MPs decry Vancouver hockey riots
Globe and Mail-- Anger, embarrassment on social media as Canadians condemn riots
Globe and Mail-- Post-mortem focuses on police numbers, tactics
Globe and Mail-- Transit officials defend service decisions
Globe and Mail-- Riots driven by more than Stanley Cup loss
Globe and Mail-- A tale of two riots: the role of social media
Globe and Mail-- Mayhem and looting in the crazed, smokey streets
National Post-- Organized 'anarchists' were not behind the Vancouver riot
National Post-- Of course the Vancouver rioters were hockey fans
National Post-- Facebook to Vancouver rioters: You're on camera, jerks!
National Post-- Blood on the streets after Vancouver loss
National Post-- This is why we can't have nice things
National Post-- Vancouver riots, what happened where
National Post-- Riots, fire, destruction after Vancouver's loss
National Post-- Rioters take over Vancouver's streets
National Post-- Anatomy of the mob as a bunch of clowns with cameras
National Post-- Punish those who tore the heart out of Vancouver
Toronto Star-- A Terrible Night After a Terrible Hockey Defeat
Toronto Sun-- Canucks riot draws international mockery

Line up the Duck boats...

By scoring the first goal of their Game 7 showdown with the Vancouver Canucks, and then adding three more markers for  good measure, the Boston Bruins secured their passage on the famed Boston Duck boats, taking game seven of the Stanley Cup Final with a definitive 4-0 victory.

And while Patrice Bergeron an and Brad Marchand  took care of the scoring, it was once again,  as he had for most of the seven game series Tim Thomas who became the story.  Turning aside a frantic Canuck attack in the early going, which combined with a fair bit of luck in the form of near misses by the Canucks served to settle down his team.

The play of the Bruins goaltender was the admission fare for the parade to come,  allowing them to score the goals that propelled the Bruins once again to the ranks of the Celtics, Red Sox and Patriots as champions, delivering yet another title to a city that has become rather spoiled by its pro teams.

The Canucks gave their final shot at Stanley Cup glory a good run, but between the remarkable talents of Thomas in the Bruins net and the shutdown defensive plays of the Bruins defence, the Canucks from their top line down to the fourth found frustration a frequent companion while in the Boston end.

Much has already been discussed about the goals from game seven,  some point the finger at Roberto Luongo, the goaltender who has had more than his shares of hits and misses in the Stanley Cup playoff run, but in game 7 he really only could wear the horns on the third goal, where a less than strong block allowed Patrice Bergeron and the puck to slide into the Canucks goal, boosting the lead for a team that has played some of the stingiest hockey seen in this series.

That third goal was a pivotal moment in the game no doubt, the sag on the Vancouver bench grew deeper, while further down the boards the Bruins confidence level was at its peak, the Bruins feeling that the Stanley Cup just within reach.

The more disconcerting statistic for Canucks fans in game seven, wasn't perhaps Luongo's Goals Against Average, but the combined minus eight between the two offensive stars of the team, the Sedin brothers.

They were on the ice for each and every goal of game seven,  perhaps not unexpected when the Canucks needed  their offensive skills, the plus minus numbers are a fact that was only overshadowed by the continuing bad luck they suffered in the offensive zone, where their goal scoring drought continued,  and while they came close, the puck never found the back of the twine when it was needed most.

That's not to dismiss their efforts or point a finger there for that matter, in fact, a bounce here or a wink from the hockey Gods there and either Daniel or Henrik very well could have been the heroes of a magical game seven, but the bounces went against them and when the puck seemed destined for the net, there was Tim Thomas.

His was the dream run of every kid that has been put in the nets from road hockey to timbits and beyond, he was the wall that held back the Canucks, providing some of the most inspiring and remarkable goaltending in recent NHL history.

He too struggled through the playoffs, there were games early on in the Bruins run where Thomas was not the machine that he became, his legend not yet recorded,  yet after those games he dusted himself off and went back to work,  providing the required response in the net that allowed his team mates to regain their composure and their momentum.

Thomas was one of the most deserving of Conn Smythe Trophy winners we've seen in a long time, if not for their goaltender these Bruins would not have been on the Rogers Arena ice on Wednesday night accepting their Stanley Cup.

The Stanley Cup final had some great moments of drama and others that left us wondering for the future of the game, in the end though, as it always is the team that worked hardest, when it was needed most, was the one carrying off Lord Stanley's trophy.

In Vancouver they probably don't want to hear much about how great a year their team had this year, how strong their lineup is and what it may portend for the future.

Boston came into their rink and took the trophy that the Canucks had dedicated their work towards all year, when the Bruins clamber aboard those Duck Boats on Saturday the place of honour will belong to Thomas, for as he went, so went the Bruins and as we all saw, he and they went very far.

You can review the Final series and the entire playoffs from our archive pages, a game by game trip down the season that was.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Extra, Extra read all about it, from the benches to the reaches...

The media histrionics in this series haven't exactly provided for journalism's greatest hours, objectivity it seems is a byproduct of a different era in this time of the blast oven of all access coverage.

Whether it has been the observations of a Mike Milbury or Don Cherry, or the team coverage of the competing newspapers of Vancouver and Boston,  the concept of a balanced approach to coverage just hasn't been on in this Stanley Cup final.

Rumours and spin have taken the place of cold facts in many a report, the stoking of allegiances seemingly the new basis of the style guides of many of the newspapers and electronic media covering the Stanley Cup Finals.

The varying degrees of observation and perception did not escape the eye of Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun, who penned this column on the growing cacophony of noise, an increasingly bombastic sideshow of this Stanley Cup Final.

For Game seven tonight, the broadsides of the journalistic guns of late,  leave us to almost expect CNN to reunite Bernard Shaw and Peter Arnett, placing them atop the roof of the Hotel Vancouver reporting on the bomb blasts off in the Surrey distance making their way downtown towards the Rogers Arena.

This could be the first sports series in history, where the reporters aren’t observers, but embedded participants in the daily battles.

Perhaps no better examples of such can be found than in this Vancouver Sun article of this week, where the cause of the quest Stanley Cup has provided for parallels of a war time footing. Or in the spirit of equal time, this suggestion from the Boston Herald that it's now time to put Vancouver out its misery.

We could go on, but game time is fast approaching, so there's not near enough time to catalogue the vast archive of us -- agin' them.

There have of course been more than a few solid pieces of reporting, leaving behind the bias of attachment to the home side to reflect on the game as a whole sample, but they have been the exception as opposed to the rule. Harder to find than a power play goal by either of the teams on the ice tonight.

When the game ends, the players perhaps in this case grudgingly, will meet at centre ice to shake hands and bring to an end the NHL season.

Having spent the last two weeks reading the dispatches from the correspondents and commentators, we suspect that may not be happening, grudgingly or not, up in the press box anytime soon.

Winner take all

And there's winners and there's losers
But they ain't no big deal...
(Pink Houses, John Mellencamp)

Ah, but John, with apologies, it is a big deal, a very big deal.

The Chase for Lord Stanley's Mug comes to an end tonight on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, a trans continental journey that brings the Bruins and the hometown Canucks to the culmination of a trek that started in September at training camp and wound its way through a far too long regular season and three gruelling rounds of playoff hockey.

Mind you this seven game race to the trophy presentation hasn't particularly shone the best light on the sport we all revere, there's been slights and fights and yes even bites.

Injured players have left the ice not destined to return until next September at the earliest, we've seen a suspension and questions as to why not more punishment from the offices of the NHL was not meted out.

Both sides have pointed fingers (sometimes with less than happy consequences), skilled players have been chopped down and punched around, leaving cause to wonder if perhaps Brian Burke wasn't wrong oh so long ago when he wondered aloud as to how Sedin wasn't Swedish for "punch me in the face", after Game six we're still looking in our English/Swedish dictionary cause surely that entry is in there someplace.

There have been cheap shots, hacks, punches, slashes, trash talks and mock walks, all in all, a seven game race to some of the worst of behaviour that the sport can offer.

If you were a parent and you decided to use this series as the template to introduce your child into the world of hockey, well, we suspect that Family Services already has the paperwork prepared to remove your child from the house.

There can't be many parents in the world that would wish some of the nastiness in this series on their children, or even those children of a rival team.

It has just all in all be an ugly series, there's no way to sugar coat that.

These of course are not children, they are men, all have played this sport for years with the understanding that it's a physical, at times violent sport, but at far too many points that aspect has threatened to, if not outright stepped over the line (of course the line seemingly an arbitrary and frequently moving marker up at the NHL head office).

Somewhere in the midst of it all there's been some entertaining hockey, goaltender duels and some implosions (three too many for Canuck fans) breathtaking rushes compete with some of the worst of clutch and grab, though to be honest the breathtaking has been overcome at times from the kind of play that leaves you looking away, fearful of what may come next, a series that has had little cadence other than a drum beat of rising anticipation.

The league can take a good share of the responsibility for the tone of the series, it seemed to get off the path early on, the officiating has been questionable at times, the control of the flow of play on the ice at times abandoned completely.

It points to a chronic problem with the NHL these days of mixed messages, there has been no continuity in the discipline of the series, leaving it seems the players sort it all out amongst themselves, the officials suddenly relegated to just fishing the puck out of the net and dropping it at centre ice whenever the two teams tired of the extra curricular crap.

The league fell down on the job of presenting an atmosphere for a series worthy of a championship, in the end it seems that it's as though Boxing rules have taken over, last man standing wins.

As they say on the NHL commercials, History will be made, we're just not sure what kind of history lesson we've been provided with in this final semester. The final exam if you will, our final glimpse of a series that has run all the emotional ranges, with anger and unchecked rage at times threatening to over take all.

It's been a throwback kind of series to an era of the game many thought was well past, for some it's a celebration of the game's ages old intensity and purpose, for others it's offered up many of the complaints and concerns about the sport that drift back to the seventies.

Perhaps, in closing we'll turn to another great American songsmith, with what could be the defining mission statement of tonight's game 7 showdown.

Down here it's just winners and losers 
and don't get caught on the wrong side of that line
(Atlantic City, Bruce Springsteen)

Sums it all up nicely and sometime this evening two teams will straddle opposite sides of that line.

One hopes that by the end of this game seven, the sport isn't the one on the wrong side of that line as well.

As always, a full review of this series and the preview of Game 7 can be found here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Advantage Luongo, Advantage Vancouver!

The countdown has begun in Boston, the 8 pm (Eastern, 5 PM on the Pacific coast) start time a call to action for the home sides team, seeking to stave off the end of their season for another day and deliver  one final chance to capture Lord Stanley's Cup.

Game Six finds the pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Boston Bruins and their goaltender Tim Thomas, something that they aren't unfamiliar with, but in this instance, more than ever the consequences of a loss loom final.

The Canucks can take the NHL's Silver collection home with them with a win tonight, a task that has been problematic in their two most recent appearances, but one which doesn't seem to be weighing too heavy on their thoughts heading into the potentially clinching game.

With a Game 5 victory that saw Roberto Luongo return to the kind of form that has caught the imagination of hockey fans through the last few years, the Canucks enter game six with a clean slate from games three and four, games which saw them shellacked in a most determined fashion, but now count as but just two losses on the trail of the Cup, a trail which sees Vancouver ahead 3 games to 2,  one win away from the realization of not only the dream of this season, but for a good number of the players in the lineup a dream that has been held since the days of road hockey and timbits hockey at the local rink.

The job ahead of course won't be easy, the Bruins resilient as ever will no doubt offer up maximum resistance, they've been backed into corners before and battled their way out of them in the past, the Canucks shouldn't have any illusions that tonight won't offer up much of the same.

However, it's still a new start to a new game, the clock will start to tick at puck drop, counting down the minutes to zero, whether in regulation or overtime. If they provide the kind of attack that they showcased in Vancouver on Friday then the desired result is within their reach, a game where not only did their goaltender rise to the occasion with a masterful shutout of the Bruins, but one which featured solid defensive play and more than enough chances to pad the 1-0 victory if not for the ongoing display of goal tending skill from the Bruins Thomas.

The Bruins goaltender has been more than impressive throughout the playoffs, though you have to wonder if eventually the law of averages isn't destined to arrive, in far too many games through the playoffs Thomas has been the only reason the Bruins have survived to play in this game six, the Bruins and their fans must surely be hoping that he has at least two more spectacular performances to give.

Friday night provided the Canucks with the advantage into game six, and despite the much documented troubles of the first two games in Boston, they hold that advantage going into tonight's game.

The atmosphere will be electric in the TD Garden as puck drop nears, the anxiety level perhaps at a near record pitch and for the first time in a long time in this series, that anxiety won't belong to the team in the White and Blue sweaters.

Pressure for them was a needed bounce back game that didn't come in game four and a then pivotal game five that lived up to its billing as the most important game of the team's history.

The Canucks can finish off that history exam with a win tonight, the Bruins on the other hand may have plans to give the Canucks a reason to study harder for a make up exam on Wednesday, regardless it would seem that Monday's game provides the platform for a remarkable night of hockey.

All that remains to be seen now is if it will be the last night of hockey this year.

You can review all of the pre game debates and discussions from our Stanley Cup archive page, which you can find here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Ottawa, they look at the farm and the bounty that could come

For Ottawa Senator fans, this has been a spring (and now almost summer) that hasn't resonated much, the home team never even made it to the first round of this Stanley Cup tournament, a woeful season confirming that there is much work to be done to return to the top echelon of the NHL standings.

Adding on to the concerns of their place in this years pecking order, word came out this week that Daniel Alfredsson, the teams captain and its heart and soul, is set for back surgery and while it's considered a relatively normal procedure, the concern for his health is on the minds of Sens fans.

The only consolation for a season of woe it seems was to be the annual amateur draft, where perhaps the Senators might unearth the hidden gem of a star of the future, though as history has shown, the draft in most years is but a roll of the dice at the gaming tables.

However, there is some hope it seems on the horizon after all, the players that are just bubbling under the radar of the NHL have shown that the future may not be as bleak as the last season suggested.

The Binghamton Senators, the farm club of the Kanata based head office battled back in their Calder Cup championship final to defeat the Houston Aeros 4 games to 2, laying claim to bragging rights in the AHL and serving notice to the Senators management that there may be some talent ready for their next step in their hockey careers.

Of particular interest to fans at the home office will be the success of the Baby Sens rookie goaltender Robin Lehner, who had a remarkable Calder Cup run. As Sens fans through the decades since the return to the NHL can attest to, goal tending has always been an Achilles heel for the team, perhaps that destiny may soon be about to change.

The AHL championship is as gruelling a tournament as the Stanley Cup is, in fact for many a player a spot on a Calder Cup champion could be the heads up required to gain some interest from the 30 NHL teams looking for the character of a champion.

The reviews of the Baby Sens success has provided for something for Senators fans to study, a collection of signs that perhaps augur for a future that they hope is brighter than the season just past.

Ottawa Citizen-- Despite impressive play Lehner expected to play most of next year in Binghamton
Ottawa Citizen-- Binghamton's AHL success delays Sens' coaching search 
Ottawa Citizen-- Binghamton's Senators win AHL championship
Ottawa Sun-- Baby Sens' success credit to Murrays
Ottawa Sun-- Bingo! Baby Sens win Calder Cup 
Ottawa Sun-- Greening, Baby Sens look to rekindle offence

Canucks seek to change their history with Game 5

Fans of the Vancouver Canucks can recite with passion their past glances at Lord Stanley's Cup, from their earliest quest against a much superior New York Islander team to the seven game showdown with the Rangers, which for the sake of a different bounce or two would have brought a parade to the West coast.

So, with the Canucks returning from Boston with a good portion of deflated hubris as baggage, the time to get back to what took them through the season is at hand.

There is obviously no room for error anymore, that was used up in games three and four, this Stanley Cup final is now a best of three tournament, as they say a brand new series, but one that suddenly casts the Bruins as the team in a more confident spot.

The Vancouver papers have been fixing their gaze and prose on what the Province calls a watershed in Canucks history, a healthy boost for the province's pulp and paper industry and perhaps providing a spike in appointments with Psychologists across the province.

Canuck fans have been living and on many nights dying with their team for forty years now, this season as it progressed gave every indication that it was perhaps finally "the year", where the ghosts of the past were put to rest for good.

For some, that faith has been shaken after the eastern excursion, making game 5 and whatever comes after it a little more nerve wracking than originally anticipated.

There's not much that they can do now but to sit back and hope for the best, hopeful, that history isn't about to replay itself, anxious for the home side to prevail against obstacles of their own creation.

There's a video making the rounds on You Tube that celebrates this current run for the Cup, while looking back at the past,  for Canuck fans it sums up 40 years in less than a minute and a half.

Which judging by the growing unease in Canuckland of late, may be about as much drama as a Canuck fan can take at one sitting.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Mr. Balsillie, it's some fellow called Bettman on line one!

We imagine this perhaps qualifies as something that belongs in the Book of Revelation, Gary Bettman seemingly has discovered that there may be gold in them thar hills north of the 49th.

Forbes magazine is reporting that the NHL Commissioner has apparently whispered in Jim Balsillie's ear that if he makes nice and doesn't cause any embarrassments, then his quest for an NHL franchise may yet come to fruition.

Perhaps awed by the fact that  Canadian hockey fans will actually purchase season tickets in numbers that require more than two hands to count, speculation is rising that the Commissioner of the NHL may just soften on the idea of further delivery of hockey teams to the Great White North.

The Balsillie is back in the game theme of course raised much interest in Canada when word of it broke on Thursday, as Southern Ontario hockey fans in particular started dreaming the dream that Winnipeg just had come true, that being the repatriation of the national game back to the land of its roots.

TSN-- Bettman tells Balsillie he could still get a team
CHCH-- Balsillie may still get an NHL franchise
The Score-- Report: Balsillie will get a team if he "behaves"
Hamilton Spectator--  Balsillie in the picture again for an NHL team

Eager it seems to throw cold water on the wild speculation as fast it broke, the NHL dispatched Bill Daly to offer up the always popular denial that any such arrangement has been brokered.

Then again, they said much the same about any Winnipeg relocation, up until the day that the Commissioner flew into Winnipeg for a press conference, so don't expect the story to fade away any time soon.

And while the NHL might prefer that Mr. Balsillie stay close to the ground and not "embarrass" them, one has to wonder if two things will work against the Commissioners wish to control the agenda.

Mr. Balsillie has more than enough money for a team and there certainly seems like there is no shortage of franchises in the NHL that are struggling at the moment and perhaps receptive to a relocation offer.

Thus, it would be safe to say, that sooner rather than later Mr. Balsillie will be getting a phone call, but it won't necessarily be Mr. Bettman on that phone at that time, but rather an anxious vendor looking to sell.

What Mr. Bettman does after that call is made will dictate whether there will be any future embarrassments or spectacles along the way.

From the meandering mind of Mike Milbury

Mount Milbury erupted again this week, as commentator Mike Milbury provided yet another stellar observation for the folks at Versus (an organization not seemingly inclined to grab resumes from  Mensa we imagine, judging from the comments of late of Mr. Milbury and his echo chamber compatriot Pierre McGuire).

Milbury, who is perhaps the one man on earth that can make Don Cherry sound erudite and deserving of a Rhodes Scholarship, weighed in with his observations on the skills and competitiveness of Vancouver's Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

Going to some length to draw a comparison to the main characters of the movie Thelma and Louise, a rather strange bit of analogy that speaks we think, more to Milbury than it does to the players in question.

Not that anyone takes what Mike Milbury has to say seriously anymore anyways, considering his considerable skills at player evaluation, one would take his guidance on player personnel issues with a keg of salt perhaps.

Ask the folks on Long Island about his hockey acumen, this being a fellow that suggests that the blockbuster trade that involved among others, Zdeno Chara for Alexi Yashin  was a good one (however did all that turn out anyways).

The only qualifying factor for that stellar decision, is that he can point to the fellow in Ottawa (Hello John Muckler) who let Chara get away from the Senators as perhaps someone who would make Milbury the smartest guy in a room of two.

Islander fans who have fond memories of their own possession of Lord Stanley's Mug, of late can only sit back and wonder whatever happened to their proud franchise, the foundation of ineptitude it seems was in part put in place during the Milbury era, where it's safe to say no miracles took place.

We'll leave it to the Canucks back up goaltender Cory Schneider (it must be all the time they have to watch the game that makes goalies so astute) to offer up the defining commentary on the latest  deliberations of Mr. Milbury.

Now it's been a while since we've seen the movie in question that spurred on Mr. Milbury's night at the improv, but perhaps he needs a refresher on the plot line of the movie here, because, if we remember correctly and as you can see for yourself here,  things didn't end up too well for the guy with the big mouth and obnoxious attitude.

Now with that visual in your mind, how do you think the Bruins feel about Motormouth Mike providing the Canucks with a bit of motivation through his never ending fountain of wit and widsom, I'm thinking they're not calling him a genius in the Boston room right now!